Why your small business should offer free wireless internet

Coffee shops are a getaway for those who want to work and indulge in their favorite caffeinated beverage. They host businessmen and women and the weekend warriors walking their dogs. All types of people come and visit coffee shops, but there's a common thread that connects a lot of them: wireless internet access.

Wireless internet can be a means of not only customer attraction, but retention as well - especially in a coffee shop. For those that are trying to get work done, a strong and free internet connection can improve overall satisfaction, even if that latte was more than $4. Free wireless internet can be used as a means of enhancing loyalty, which ultimately improves the bottom line.

A recent Devicescape™ study found 62 percent of business respondents said customers spend more time in their store since wireless internet was introduced. Another half said the result of this was clients spending more money. In terms of revenue generated, wireless internet, albeit free, can actually improve the bottom line indirectly.

Consumers want free wireless internet

Wireless internet is something coffee shops are expected to provide today. From a business standpoint, decision-makers are seeing the value it provides. More than three-quarters of Devicescape™ respondents said customer-facing wireless internet was either important or very important for their business. In fact, many described it as a competitive requirement.

The most savvy coffee shops can get creative with how they offer wireless internet, too. For instance, Starbucks® and other major names automatically direct users to a branded page before the user can browse the web. In other cases, some coffee shops ask a consumer trade his or her email for internet access, thus creating a link between the company and the buyer.

What's more, merchants can track user internet behavior and patterns, thus learning more about the customer and increasing the likelihood of sending relevant offers, technology industry website ITProPortal™ says. If a coffee shop uses a social wireless internet monitoring service, they can track who goes in, who goes out, and how often they visit. Using wireless internet in conjunction with loyalty rewards programs can dramatically improve overall customer retention.

Coffee shop owners shouldn't see wireless internet as an added value for customers anymore. Rather, it's just another perk besides the awesome product they're serving. The longer a customer stays in a coffee shop, the more likely they are to spend more money and return to the same location. A strong, free internet connection, coupled with a great cup of Joe, can lead to a happy patron at the end of the day.